January 22nd, 2011

Want better customer service? Tweet your frustrations!

by Jacqueline Whitmore

Who doesn’t want to save a few dollars these days? I certainly do! That’s why I made the decision a couple of weeks ago to convert my business phone line to a residential line and save myself a whopping $20.00 per month. So I called my local phone company, AT&T, and requested the conversion.

“Will my phone service be disrupted in any way?” I asked.

“No, Ms. Whitmore, the conversion should go very smoothly,” the representative assured me.

“Great.” I said. “Let’s do it!”

On Tuesday, January 18, I discovered that the conversion had taken place when I picked up the phone and didn’t hear a dial tone.

Nothing.

Nada.

Just dead silence!

Sure enough, my fear had become a reality! My phone got disconnected when the phone company converted my phone line from business to residential!

Frantically, I picked up my cell phone and called the customer service department and reported this glitch. The rep apologized and told me that it was an error on their part and my phone line would be restored by midnight.

Midnight!? That means that I will be without a land line all day long! That means that my customers can’t call me! That means that I might experience a loss in revenue! Oh no! I thought I was saving money, not losing it! {sigh}

Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait too long as my phone line was restored in four hours. And just when I thought my problem was resolved, I learned that my Internet connection was cut off, too!

That means that I can’t send or receive any emails, nor can my husband who is also self-employed and works from home! And, if truth be told, my husband is not nearly as patient as I am when things like this happen around our house.  I knew that he would NOT be a very happy camper!

I was frantic! I immediately called my Internet provider and the Indian man on the other end (named Steve) told me that my DSL was cut off when my phone line was disconnected. He said that he couldn’t do anything about it and that we’d just have to wait until the phone company restored the service.

“How long will this take?!” I snapped.

“I don’t know, ma’am, but we’ll let you know something as soon as we know something,” Steve replied calmly.

Darn! I hate those airy-fairy answers! (Except I did not say darn. Yes, etiquette experts get angry, too.) This could take days, maybe weeks. I began to think to myself, “How much revenue will I lose as a result of this so-called ‘error?.'” This problem was growing more monumental by the minute!

That’s when I turned to Twitter. It was time to tweet my frustration!

I tweeted, “@ATT Promised not to disrupt my phone service. They did it anyway. Very disappointed. I have to wait days to get my Internet restored.”

Within minutes, I received a response from @ATTJulie. She asked me to DM (direct message) her with my contact info. I did and about 30 minutes later, she called and I explained my problem to her. She apologized and told me that she would start working on my case immediately. Several minutes later, I received a tweet from @ATTSusan telling me that AT&T escalated my case. This was a good sign!

The next day, I received a surprise call from the office of AT&T’s president. The admin assistant was very polite and assured me that she was also working on the problem and said it would be resolved as soon as possible. This was also a very good sign! I began to feel very confident that I was finally going to see some progress. And I was right.

This morning, I walked into my office and, much to my delight, my Internet was working! The admin from the president’s office also called me back this afternoon to tell me that I would be receiving free service for one month and my installation fee would be waived!

Years ago, consumers had no choice but to call a company’s toll-free number, then call, call again, then again and again! With Twitter, I got immediate (or nearly immediate) results!

I am forever grateful for the social media team at AT&T for providing such excellent customer service and for expediting my request. I am, indeed, one happy customer!

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